Top Headlines - part 11

Consumer Electronics Chain RadioShack Suffers $400 Million In Losses

Consumer Electronics Chain RadioShack Suffers $400 Million In Losses

BUSINESS

  • RadioShack turnaround plan involves closing 1,100 stores
  • RadioShack struggles to compete against online retailers and changing technology
  • Poor performance blamed on holiday shopping season, soft market for mobile devices and being under stocked in some products

American electronics chain RadioShack Corp. lost $400 million in 2013, and plans to close 1,100 stores as part of chief executive Joe Magnacca’s turnaround plan.

The retailer has struggled for years to compete against online retailers and changing technology. Analysts say RadioShack cannot compete in a world where people shop online and that it is too dependent on wireless technology.

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February US Auto Sales Up 0.3%

February US Auto Sales Up 0.3%

BUSINESS

  • Incentives drew customers to dealerships
  • Nissan led automakers with 16% gain
  • Some foreign manufacturers saw sales drop

Automakers saw sales in the United States rise in February 0.3%, as incentives drew customers to dealerships. Last month, nearly 1.2 million vehicles were sold.

On average, incentives for February were $2,633 per vehicle, or up 5% from 2013, according to TrueCar. The average transaction price was $32,074, some 3.6% higher than 2013. It’s also the highest February average sale price since 2009.

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Pharma Giant Bayer To Acquire Chinese Herbal Treatment Company Dihon

Pharma Giant Bayer To Acquire Chinese Herbal Treatment Company Dihon

BUSINESS

  • Bayer aims to boost its position in emerging markets for herbal medicine and over the counter drugs in China
  • Healthcare expenditure in China predicted to increase from $357 million to $1 trillion by 2020
  • Pharmaceutical companies worldwide moving toward herbal medicines and OTC drugs

Pharma giant Bayer, creator of Aspirin, will purchase Dihon Pharmaceutical, a privately-owned company with headquarters in south west China to strengthen its position in Asia, where pharmaceutical businesses are growing, and help it reach its goal of becoming the #1 non-prescription drugs company worldwide.

Dihon focuses on traditional herbal Chinese medicine and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs—a sector in which it is a leader in China. Dihon boasts yearly sales of $168 million and has 2,400 employees.

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Online Video Service Hulu Sells Japanese Subsidiary To Nippon TV

Online Video Service Hulu Sells Japanese Subsidiary To Nippon TV

BUSINESS

  • Deal with Nippon marks the end of Hulu’s international business venture
  • Japanese viewers watch content on televisions, computers, tablets, gaming consoles and smartphones
  • Hulu to offer US customers more broadcast content

American online video on demand service Hulu LLC has entered into an agreement to sell its Japanese unit to Nippon Television Network Corp., the top Japanese television network, ending Hulu’s venture into international business.

Hulu launched its Japanese unit in September 2011; the unit offers subscriptions for unlimited viewing of premium content on internet-connected devices for a $9.60 monthly fee. It has 50 content partners and offers more than 13,000 movies, dramas and anime.

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Smartphone News: BlackBerry Future Plans Centered on BBM, Core Business Customers

Smartphone News: BlackBerry Future Plans Centered on BBM, Core Business Customers

BUSINESS

  • New BlackBerry CEO John Chen strengthening BlackBerry Messenger service with better encryption technology and extension to Windows Phone platform
  • Present focus to engage company’s 80,000 existing core business clients
  • New BlackBerry smartphones to bring back popular features such as ‘send,’ ‘end,’ and ‘menu’ buttons

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has announced plans to sell or create new products related to the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) smartphone service to help build a stronger foundation for the company.

With Chen centering his efforts to boost the Waterloo, Ontario-based company on BBM, BlackBerry’s instant-messenger, as well as BlackBerry’s business customers, the company’s stock has risen steadily after a period of decline.

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Airbus To Increase Production Of A320 Aircraft By 10%

Airbus To Increase Production Of A320 Aircraft By 10%

BUSINESS

  • Airbus to produce 46 model A320 aircraft per month produced by 2016
  • Airbus has backlog of 5,500 jets
  • Airbus reports 2013 income up 21%

Airbus Group NV, Europe’s largest aerospace company, plans to increase production of its A320 model by 10% to 46 aircraft per month by 2016.

Last year, demand for new aircraft rose 22%, and Airbus secured orders for over 1,500 new planes worth $225 billion in list prices. Growth was seen primarily in emerging markets, but also from American carriers replacing their aging fleets.

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Video Streaming Service Netflix To Pay Comcast For Faster Internet Speed

Video Streaming Service Netflix To Pay Comcast For Faster Internet Speed

BUSINESS

  • Terms of deal not revealed 
  • Netflix to provide videos quicker, more clearly
  • US law allows providers to charge websites more

Netflix Inc., the world’s largest subscription video-streaming service, has agreed to pay Comcast Corp., one of the largest US broadband providers, for faster internet speeds to provide customers with better service.

The terms of the deal were not revealed, but are rumored to be in the millions of dollars, according to Bloomberg.

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Media Giant Comcast Buys Time Warner Cable To Expand Pay TV, Broadband Services

Media Giant Comcast Buys Time Warner Cable To Expand Pay TV, Broadband Services

BUSINESS

  • Comcast buys Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion to create a dominant force in the US cable market
  • Comcast and Time Warner Cable anticipated to save $1.5 billion in yearly fees over 3 years
  • Joint company to have roughly 30 million subscribers

Media and communications giant Comcast Corp. plans to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. at a $45.2 billion price tag; this all-stock agreement would see the two largest cable TV corporations in the US joining forces.

This deal is anticipated to close by year end once regulatory and shareholder approval is given.  

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Internet Services Company Rakuten Buys Mobile App Viber For $900 Million

Internet Services Company Rakuten Buys Mobile App Viber For $900 Million

BUSINESS

  • Rakuten buys Viber to expand into emerging markets
  • Viber has 300 million users
  • Social messaging app market to continue growing

Japanese Internet services company Rakuten Inc. has bought messaging app and VoIP company Viber for $900 million, allowing it to expand into emerging markets.

Rakuten Group owns Canadian e-reader Kobo and online retailer Play.com, and offers 40 services to 225 million global members.

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Barclays To Mitigate Heavy Losses With 12,000 Job Cuts

Barclays To Mitigate Heavy Losses With 12,000 Job Cuts

BUSINESS

  • Barclays cutting jobs as part of restructuring efforts in face of international exchange rate scandal and fourth quarter loss of over $1 billion  
  • Rebuilding efforts since 2012 include 7,650 job cuts and future reduction of business units
  • Barclays under fire for increasing funding to bonus pool

London, England-based Barclays bank will eliminate up to 12,000 jobs—roughly 8% of its present labor force of 140,000—in 2014. These jobs cuts are the latest in a challenging restructuring plan that started last year and will involve 7,000 jobs in Britain as well as about 800 management personnel positions.

These cuts are a way to mitigate heavy financial losses in the fourth quarter, linked with reputational damage as well as higher government charges for banks with liabilities in excess of 20 billion pounds (roughly $33.4 billion).

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